Looking Ahead: What Does The 2019-20 Blackhawks Defense Look Like?

Earlier we looked ahead at what the forward group of the 2019-20 Blackhawks looks like, considering players who are currently under contract. Now, let’s look ahead at the defense. What do the goaltenders and defensemen look like heading into the draft and free agency?


Duncan Keith – age: 35 – Cap hit: $5,538,462
Brent Seabrook – 34 – $6.875M
Connor Murphy – 26 – $3.85M
Erik Gustafsson – 27 – $1.2M
Slater Koekkoek – 25 – $925k
Carl Dahlstrom – 24 – $850K
Henri Jokiharju – 19 – $925k

Gustav Forsling – 22
Blake Hillman – 23


Prospects Signed
Adam Boqvist – 18 – Signed thru: 2022
Nicolas Beaudin – 19 – 2022
Chad Krys – 21 – 2022
Lucas Carlsson – 21 – 2021
Dennis Gilbert – 22 – 2021
Joni Tuulola – 23 – 2020

Internal Free agents

The Blackhawks have two outstanding restricted free agents in the system, Forsling and Hillman. Hillman appeared in four games for the Blackhawks during the 2017-18 season and 54 for Rockford last year. Forsling is younger and had nine points in 43 games with the Hawks last year. If neither is on the roster next year it shouldn’t hurt the organization’s overall depth, but Forsling may be an intriguing trade piece because of his age.

Potential Roster

This gets complicated…

Erik Gustafsson – Connor Murphy

Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook

Slater Koekkoek – Henri Jokiharju

Those are the six players under contract for next year that most feel are likely to break camp with Chicago. Gilbert made his NHL debut last season after producing 14 points in 63 games with the IceHogs. How Boqvist and Beaudin look in training camp will be where most of the interest comes; both are considered top prospects. With Ian Mitchell returning to Denver for another season, they are certainly the two most notable prospects coming into camp. However, Carlsson has also improved a great deal and could push for a roster spot as well. We do not yet know if Jake Massie is in the Hawks’ plans; he will turn pro.

With all of that being said, if the Blackhawks select Bowen Byram with the third overall pick he adds another name to this mix. Most feel he needs more seasoning (most defensemen do), but he would immediately become the top blue line prospect in the organization and could project as a top pair partner for Boqvist and/or Jokiharju.


Corey Crawford – 34 – $6M
Colin Delia – 24 – $1M
Kevin Lankinen – 24 – $925k

Anton Forsberg – 26

Cam Ward – 35

This is obviously an area of significant concern. Crawford has one year remaining on his contract; Lankinen can become a RFA in one year as well. Delia has three years at $1M on his current contract.

Lankinen looked good in recent international play but doesn’t have a length resume. If the Blackhawks feel Delia is their eventual starter, they may roll into the season looking to add depth in Rockford this summer. If they’re concerned about Delia being the guy who leads them back to the playoffs if Crawford’s health becomes a concern again this year, the organization will need to address the second spot on the NHL roster this summer.


76 thoughts on “Looking Ahead: What Does The 2019-20 Blackhawks Defense Look Like?

  1. Still believe there could a couple of different faces in the blueline picture, Boqvist getting a lenghty trial similar to Jokiharju last season being one and a ufa, not big money one, but upgrade on last years ufa defense. Lack of rightside depth in Rockford could see Ryczek filling that void next season too, especially if the plan is for Boqvist to return to London at some point.
    Delia seems to be thought of as big league goalie, Ahl level goalies usually aren’t signed to 3 year deals unless its an elc. May possibly want to take advantage of his waiver exempt time left and let him play regular in Rockford to start the year and sign another Nhl backup. Sounded to me like Bowman was looking at him as backup next season.

  2. Both forward and defense wise potential for a lot of moving parts. Trades and such. Gonna be a fun off season to see what they do.

  3. Thanks, Tab, for an excellent analysis.

    I’ve been sold on Byram being the smartest pick since April. Is the best on the board and badly needed, even with our promising D prospects. Here is how I rate our current and future D:

    1st pairing – nobody now, maybe Boq in 20/21.
    2nd pairing – Keith (no longer 1st), Joki, Murphy, Boq late next season, Beau in 20/21, maybe Mitchell in a year or so.
    3rd pairing; Seabrook (fading), Gus, KK, Dahl, maybe Carlsson. None likely to move up to 2nd.

    Forget Forsling and Hillman.

    In other words, in a couple of years we may only have Boq as top pairing quality. Byram would probably be 2nd pairing in 20/21 and top pairing in 21/22. We badly need this quality d-man. Is also physical, something that we do not have.

    Of course we have a couple of serious holes at C and wing. All problems cannot be solved at once. Hopefully, FA and some coming up soon from our system.

  4. Agree Original that Byram seems like the best pick but obviously none of us have put the time into scouting these prospects like the Hawks scouting department

    If they choose Turcotte say I won’t be disappointed either – I trust that they’ll take who they think is the BPA and who will be the best player in 3 years

    They are going to need a significant add on D (other than Joki) for the coming year whether it be a UFA like Edler, Myers, Stralman et. al. or via trade Zaitsev? Trouba? and no doubt others

  5. I won’t guess what the d-corps will be to start the season but I will guess it will be different at the end of the season and into the playoffs (yes, I think they find a way into the playoffs).

    Keith, Seabrook, Jokiharju, and Murphy will be 4 of the 7 d-men.

    One of Dahlstrom, Koekkoek or Forsling will be the 5th d-man.

    Gustafsson will be traded, either before the season (draft?) or before the TDL. If he is traded before the season, then one of Dahlstrom, Koekkoek or Forsling will be the 6th d-man.

    Boqvist will be brought up from Rockford mid-season.

    Byram will join the team in the playoffs after his WHL season is over.

    However, I think Stan will acquire a veteran d-man which will reshape everything I wrote above.

  6. What’s the positive—this will make the Hawks better— argument for trading Gus? Most of what I read focuses upon his perceived deficiencies, and not his value outside of trade value. His value to the Hawks exceeds trade value within defensive improvement this season, in my view.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t rush pushing Gus out the door.

  7. Aurora: I tend to agree with you on Gus. His 60 points and driving of the PP would not be easy to replace. And while he definitely has deficiencies in his own zone, he showed marked improvement defensively over the course of the season. Keeping Gus for the 19/20 season seems to be prudent since there is no guarantee that any of Boqvist, Beaudin, Krys et al will make the NHL roster this Sept/Oct. let alone produce at Gus’ level.

  8. Aurora, my rationale for wanting to trade Gustafsson is to sell high because I don’t think he will be affordable if he has another 60 point season AND he will be in the way of the young d-men coming up. If he can be re-signed for $3M then OK, but he’s going to get more than that in the free agent market. If we’re going to be stuck with Seabrook for 5 more seasons, Keith will be here for 4 more seasons, Murphy for 3 more seasons, Jokiharju for hopefully many more seasons – there needs to be ice time for Boqvist, Beaudin, Mitchell and hopefully Byram to work their way into the lineup on their ELC contracts.

  9. I can see the good in keeping and trading Gus. Depends on adding a D guy at draft or summer trade wise and what caphit Gus would have.

  10. If the goal is to get the best out of the team next year, then keeping Gus, a point a game dman who made the pp a more improved unit seems likely. If the goal is he is not in long term plans and not to resign him next summer, but rather getting a return, even if it risks makes next season something less for the Blackhawks then you move him. If your a playoff team and he is an offensive catalyst like this year, what kind of message does it send to trade him tdl, seems it would be an odd move.

  11. Ian, I agree. I think the best move is to trade him at or before the draft, followed closely by trading him after the draft but before the season starts. The problem with trading him at the TDL is that if he is having another good year offensively, it sends the wrong message to the team by trading away a big contributor in the middle of a playoff race. On the other hand, if he is not having as much success offensively then you’re no going to get much in return.

  12. I doubt Stan is trading a 60 point defenseman with the best left handed point shot the Hawks have seen since Doug Wilson and Gary Sutter. Also, he and Kane play catch on the power play and have tremendous chemistry.
    Stan always says, you never want to make a trade, then NEED exactly the same thing you just traded away.

  13. He also says do not trade a spot to fill another. You still have a spot to fill.

    Being able to add this summer/and summer of 20, allows us to trade one and add two/2 and 3/or o and 1. Basically add more then we trade, if any trades.

  14. Agree with what your saying and adding that.

    Were not going to sit on 21m in cap space, so pretty exciting hockey coming, after 4 yrs of crap watered down league.

    This draft/summer will be the most exciting thing in hockey, other then world juniors and world championships this yr, in the last 2 or so yrs.

    Starting with the draft, hockey is back. No more 2 or 3 ‘real’ top 5 teams anymore. Once COL, CHI are top teams again, there will be 5-8 ‘real’ top 5 teams again and then hockey will be good. This recent yrs is watered down bettman garbage.

  15. So trade Gus, draft Byram who you can only hope is as good offensively in the NHL as Gus. Makes no sense, I haven’t heard any draft experts say Byram is a stud defensively, which is exactly what we need. We have cap room now, aquire a top 4 dman and draft a center for once, preferably Cozens or Turcotte

  16. Good point Graig but Bowman traded Panarin? He played catch very, very well with Kane, right? Gus stays. Anyways, Dach was very impressive at the combine and his size at 6’4″, speed and ability to play a 200′ game at center or at wing if Hawks sign a free agent center makes him a great pick in my opinion.

  17. And the 3rd pick overall on this team needs to make opening day roster. Bowman and especially Kelley need to do the right thing.

  18. So Scotty Bowman listens in during interviews with prospects? Really??? Joke!! Was he there with Graham Knott, Bondra, the Belgian goalie? He needs to retire in Florida and stay away from hockey. It’s over and bring your son along too.

  19. Craig that makes sense, just wonder how it will apply to AA also, similar situation, kind of limits who he can trade, though.

  20. I would say if they feel Boqvist is ready for the Nhl roster in similar way Debrincat was when they traded Panarin to get Saad to fill Hossa void, then yes they might, but for just a spot to fill, seems doubtful.

  21. If Gustafsson has another 60 point season (or close to it) then he will get $6M on his next contract, if not more. Can the Hawks afford that with the other players they need to re-sign going into the 2020/21 season? If you think they can afford Gustafsson at $6M – then you have a solid case for not trading him. I don’t think they can nor should pay Gustafsson $6M, especially when they still have Seabrook’s $6.8M on the books for him to play inconsistent and sometimes downright lousy defense.

    If Gustafsson doesn’t score as well next season as he did last season, then what do you have? You have a guy that isn’t good defensively that you could have sold high on but now you can’t give him away and he walks away a UFA at the end of the season.

    This is all predicated on the idea that the Hawks will not be legitimate Cup contenders in 2019/20 – so therefore having Gus versus not having Gus isn’t going to be the difference between being a legit Cup contender and not being a legit Cup contender. Making the playoffs in 2019/20 is important and I think the Hawks have a good shot to do so, and I admit Gus enhances the probability to make the 2019/20 playoffs. BUT – the mission should be to win the Cup and I don’t believe losing Gus to UFA after the 2019/20 season or paying him $6M to stay beyond 2019/20 helps with accomplishing the mission.

  22. We would get more trading Gus at certain times, then later. Even though thats better I would rather keep him then get a 3rd or later pick. It would make sense if it was in a trade that had us getting back a top 4 DEF Defensemen. The kind of Defensemen everyone here is talking about getting, before we won the draft lottery top 3 pick and then steered towards Byram.

  23. It makes sense to keep Gus, even if we know the Four Horsemen are going to be very good and we pick Byram. That would be a good group of Defensemen.

    I guess 56 stays. To me it shouldnt matter whos the best return for trades. It who we want to keep and who we have coming/or who were adding in ufa/trade this summer.

    I want to stack the roster, not trade for best returns. Its not a stock market. Its adding to an already achieved dynasty. A 4th and 5th Cup by the time 19 88 are 40 and retire.

    I do not think anyone here wants Byram if hes not a lock at top pair, and a #1 Defensemen. We have 4 top 4 Defensemen already coming, with 1 maybe 2 being top pair quality.

  24. I know caphits are inflated compared to 2013 but no way do we have 56 at 6m. I wouldnt do more then 3.5/4m. Hammer was the top, very top DEF Defensemen in league and he got 4m ish?

    Now if 56 was at 6m for 2yrs, that would be ok. 4-6yrs, no way. Only if we draft a center with size, thats a player between 19 and 20, being closer to 19 in quality.

    We add a top 4 DEF D guy another way, have the Four Horsemen, 56 and 5/2, & a loaded group of FWs.

  25. The case for trading Gus assumes that his defense doesn’t improve and he remains and all O no D defensemen. What if he’s much improved, even good, a year later into JC’s system? He improved quite a bit last season.

    We seem to have quite a few prospects in the pipeline who have neither shown they can play D nor score 60 points in an NHL season. Gus is pretty darned valuable on-ice to the Hawks too.

    Trades are going to be made, even necessary. I am not opposed to trading Gus and we know someone is going to be traded. The smarter move may be a package including kids, instead. Bird in hand..:.

  26. Gusstafsons improvement from year 1 to year 2 warrants you keeping him. Trade him only for a kings ransom

  27. Ian. Excellent point on Anisimov. If they trade the big Center, that creates a void that they seemingly would have to go hunting for at the trade deadline, assuming they will be buyers in Feb of 2020.

    I see where Philadelphia is shopping pick #11 in the upcoming draft. Wow. Wouldn’t that be something if Stan somehow wound up with #3 and #11 ?

  28. Saw that, Craig be something if he did, saw too Oikers may be willing to give up no.8 pick for immediate help too.

  29. Completely agree with ER in trading Gus, assuming he brings back a decent pick or promising FW prospect. Reasons to trade him at the draft or this summer:

    1. Age 27, so don’t expect much improvement at D.
    2. It is likely that his highest value is right now. Not likely that he will have another 60-point season.
    3. Not part of the long-term rebuild, with younger D coming up.
    4. Will be up for a major raise in a year, at least $4-5M, which makes him unaffordable.
    5. Makes room for one of our prospects to get some playing experience.
    6. If anyone thinks the Blackhawks will be serious contenders in 19/20, you are delusional.

    Management’s strategy should be about becoming a serious contender in 2-3 seasons.

    Disagree with Hull65 about our pick needing to make the team opening day. Realistically, it should be in 20/21.

  30. Would 56 and Mitchell for 11th or 8th pick be a good trade. Add to that if needed. We do that trade and not pick Byram, were loaded at FW and still thin on D, with only 3 Horsemen left.

  31. re: trading Gustafsson – I’m completely on board with it but a defenseman who puts up those kinda points w/ a $1.2M cap hit is gold in today’s NHL. If you can handcuff him to Anisimov in a deal and add picks that would be ideal. The Hawks have plenty of blue line depth coming and I don’t see a way the Hawks can reasonably get someone to take 2 or 7 (and, frankly, I like them leading the young group into the next generation of Blackhawks defensive leaders anyway).

  32. re: O6’s “If anyone thinks the Blackhawks will be serious contenders in 19/20, you are delusional.” – if anyone thought the Blues would be in the Stanley Cup Final in January they would have been considered crazy. There’s a TON of up-and-down play in the NHL. If the Blackhawks can clean up their defensive rotation and put the best players on the ice (read: Jokiharju & Dahlstrom all year vs Davidson/Rutta/Manning EVER) and get some consistent forward lines clicking for a full season (read: DeBrincat + Strome for 82) they could absolutely be an interesting team in the West. There’s going to be a lot of movement this summer so let’s all buckle up. The Hawks have a good core but need to compliment it with better depth (read: NO MORE SHIT VETERANS LIKE KUNITZ).

  33. BOS was not a top 5 team and they are winning the Cup, because the top teams lost early/they didnt have to play TB this yr. BOS is good and will be a top 5 team starting next yr, though.

    We wont/noone prob get that lucky to play CAR STL and not TB in being able to win like that.

    I do think not crazy, that 21 season we will be serious contenders/like BOS was this yr. They were not a top 5 team this yr but they had luck of avoiding to play the better teams to win/even though they beat CLB.

    So BOS got Pastrinak and 4 good young players. We got Debrincat and Four Horsemen. 5 good young players both teams got. So I think when the Four Horsemen are established like BOS good young players were, thats when were serious contenders.

    That could be 21 season.

  34. I think we see WIN NAS TB rebound next yr and one of them win Cup in 20. Then for the 21 season were ready, as well as COL. Think we will be very good, after reshaping roster this summer, and stamping the goal for the roster going forward. Load up with good players ufas/trade because the Four Horsemen are coming and they are very good.

    Plus+ draft lottery top 3 pick going to be a stud, ready for the 21 season.
    Huge difference for the coming yrs. Game Changer.

  35. Obviously you don’t give Gus away but I agree that trading him makes a lot of sense – he’s a PP specialist who probably just had a career year and really is best suited to play on the 3rd pairing on a good team

    If you keep him long term then you have to pay him before he’s UFA in 2020 and whatever that is ($4 – 6 million) will be too much for a third pairing D man and while he did improve defensively last year it’s a reach to think he’ll ever be able to play top 4 D playoff minutes on a cup contender

    You could get a nice return for him this summer – I could see him in a package deal – maybe the Hawks can get Zaitsev and Kapanen out of TOR with a package including Gus (a cheaper Jake Gardiner who won’t be back)

    The biggest concern if Gus does get traded is who will run the PP and it is a legit concern – the PP was a big reason the Hawks made a run at the end of the season

    Maybe a UFA like Edler until one of Joki, Boq (or Byram?) is ready or perhaps a cap strapped team takes Gus (cause he’s cheap) and sends the Hawks a D man who can run the PP but makes too much for that team – Trouba?

  36. I do not mean regular season record. I mean roster quality. I have NAS WIN TOR CLB ahead of BOS. Now after this summer BOS moves up and TOR CLB and others move down.

    Its like us in 2017 we wernt really the 1 seed. We were top 5 or so but not top 2 or 3 that yr, roster wise.

  37. Good post on Gusto.

    To me CGY and BOS are the two best up and coming teams. COL might be better then them and CHI might as well, once the teams get their young players established.

    For this yr I had more established top teams ahead of CGY and BOS, these two and COL and CHI will move uo and be top teams for the coming yrs. The established teams that I have ahead of those two teams, this yr, are proven playoff/top 5 roster teams for a couple/few yrs now, NAS WIN, CLB, and TOR was new last yr and this yr, but those teams had better rosters this yr then those two, to me.

    TOR had a better roster then BOS last yr and this yr. After this summer, I think BOS goes up and TOR goes down.

  38. I had this, based on rosters and proven recent yrs.

    top 3


    two best 5-10 teams
    the rest 5-10 teams


    To me I go by rosters and what teams have done recently yrs. BOS had it very easy not having to play TB and getting CAR and STL for those conference finals and finals. I think BOS deserved to beat TOR last yr but TOR deserved to beat BOS this yr. Then BOS got ass kicked by TB, they got a free pass this yr.

    I do think TB going down some but still top 5ish, TOR and CLB going down and maybe others.

  39. It does seem good to trade 56, by your post, makes you think with the Four Horsemen and another add. We might pick elite franchise center at draft. Which ever way makes us more stacked for the soon enough coming yrs.

  40. The Hawks are looking to move into the latter part of round one. So in looking at the possibilities, Tampa seems to be possible at 27.
    So, much like the Hossa deal in which the Hawks had to add Hinostroza and a 3rd round puck, what if Stan took half of Ryan Callahan’s contract, roughly $3Million ?
    Might Tampa be willing to make this deal : Callahan +1st rounder for Hawks 2nd rounder?
    Hawks move back into the first round. Tampa gets much needed cap space ?

  41. Theres no reason not to move up, when were not spending entire cap for 20 season and player bonuses are paid up and on que. Rather Keep every Horsemen and draft an elite player and a really good player 25thish. No matter what were adding an elite player FW or D. So what we need to work on is these kinds of trades to get more and benefit from having the right end of the whip these times around.

  42. Craig, I like your proposed Callahan deal. For just one year left on his contract, we get to move up 16 spots. TB has a full roster and gets some cap relief.

  43. Craig, I’m going to take you idea and build on it.

    The we trade the #27 pick to Vegas for the #17 pick and Horton’s contract ($5.2M for 1-year on LTIR)

    We select Byram with #3 and Spencer Knight with #17.

    We use $8.2M in 2019/20 cap space on Callahan and Horton which is essentially cap space earmarked to go toward re-signing Cat/Strome/Kahun next summer.

  44. Good options for draft day for sure. Be interesting to know what their priorities those teams put on those picks. Speculation that Tampa may involve taking Jt Miller or Killhorns caphit for 4 years and they can get over 3m from a Callaghan buyout, maybe moving entire hit for that swap of picks might be doable, which give them the room their looking for. Both players would have cap friendly buyouts for last year or 2 of contract if it came to that.
    With Vgk it depends how important being under ceiling vs ltir space is. Their brief history shows they would prefer tdl flexibility ltir doesn’t allow.

  45. Love the creativity. And, it’s fun. One draft is the same as the next to me when discussing 18 year olds. It reminds me of a frustrating conversation I had with my son’s 5th grade select BB coaches. My son wasn’t good enough yet, but we supposedly had the best 5th grade basketball player in the state on our team. My son grew to 6’6” with the sweetest stroke outside of the GS Warriors. Our stud 5th grader never grew another inch.

    Is there something about this draft that makes getting into the latter half of the 1st round worth it, like an especially deep talent pool, unique talent available or other? Or do these proposals operate from the principle higher (or more) is better?

    Honest question. I guess the question is why and who? Or is it just better (higher) is better? Outside of the top 12-15 highest rated players, it seems like more picks rather than merely a trade-up would be preferable.

  46. Aurora, drafting goalies is probably more of a crap shoot than the other positions but Spencer Knight is supposed to be all that and a cracker jack prize. If the Hawks have a chance to get him I think the “move up” machinations would be worth it. However, he may be gone by Vegas’ pick (#17) in which case I would take either Kalyiev or Lavoie – both big scoring wingers.

  47. Aurora hard to argue which is best, good point too. I like the Vgk spot and mentioned it before the 16 pick can be your anti no.3 so to speak. If its Byram at 3, then top 6 ceiling fwds like Lavoie, Kaliyev, Newhook or Suzuki could be still around there. If its a fwd at 3 then dmen like top 4 dmen like Broberg or 1 maybe 2 others who are as good maybe a little better defenders than Byram, but don’t have the offensive game to be the top dman, available to pick. Plus like EB mentioned if Knight is considered bpa then you could land a blue chip goalie prospect.

  48. ER, my first thought after reading Craig trade. Add to it. We always use entire cap when were deep roster. So it would be a waste not to use it to make roster better when its there like that. Its not like were a budget team and would be a gamble or anything.

  49. Looking like Nalimov maybe getting ready to sign elc. Have to believe if he does he agrees to go to Rockford and compete with Lankinen for top spot there and 1st callup.

  50. Kevin Hayes to Philly for 5th rd pick, what does that mean for Anisimov is he worth anymore.

  51. Thats true, but Hayes is a step up in talent and Philly must be sure he’ll sign a long term deal now. Bowman got a 3rd rounder that became Evan Barrett under similar situation for Darling.

  52. I’m having second thoughts on trading Gustafsson. Up until now I’ve been in favor of trading him from the perspective that he isn’t going to be part of the long term plan so we may as well sell high on him now and get what we can for him. A 60 point d-man with a $1.2M AAV is a pretty nice asset, however, because he has only 1 year remaining on that attractive contract he’s probably not going to return a lot in a trade.

    So then the decision point is – will the return on the trade outweigh the value he would bring to the 2019/20 Hawks even if they don’t re-sign him and he walks away a UFA after 2019/20.

    The more I think about it the more I come back to the one thing we can kind of hang our hat on in 2018/19 which was the improvement on the PP and a large part of that improvement was Gustafsson’s play. I think the plan moving forward is for Boqvist to be that guy on the PP and maybe Byram too if Stan selects him – but neither of those guys are ready for that at the beginning of the season even if they make the team – you can’t just throw them on the first PP unit when they’re still green.

    It would be different if Gus would bring back a 1st round pick in a trade but I think that’s unlikely with him having only 1 year left – so I’ve come around to thinking the Hawks should use him as a mercenary and if he’s too expensive to re-sign after the 2019/20 season – so be it. At least he would be there in 2019/20 to hopefully build upon the success of the PP.

  53. Ian -Yes, the Flyers probably think they have a very good chance to sign him. but look at the return he brought at the deadline. I just don’t think it’s a good way to judge what the Hawks might get from trading Anisimov.

  54. We have loads of cap space that we can can spend the full 10% over the cap during the summer, right? Im thinking could be trades at draft for picks. To add a player in a trade would be after july 1 because well have the whole extra 10% to use and can make those kinds of trades in summer. Doesnt, have to, be at draft.

  55. Currently the Hawks have $20.3M in available cap space – that is with 9 forwards, 6 d-men and 2 goalies. The Hawks will need to use some of that $20.3M to sign another 6 or 7 players and even if those are low cost players it will add up to $5m-$6M which brings the available cap space to $14M-$15M. The $20.3M figure is based on the estimated cap ceiling at $83M. The estimated cap is often reduced after the playoffs complete – so if it is reduced $500K or $1M or whatever – the Hawks available cap space would be reduced accordingly.

    Then, a good chunk of available cap space will be needed next year to re-sign Cat/Strome/Kahun, therefore all of the $14M-$15M available this summer can’t be used beyond the 2019/20 season – which means Stan has considerably less than $14M-$15M to spend this summer, unless it’s for 1-year deals like taking on a Callahan from TB or for Horton’s 1-year LTIR contract from Toronto.

  56. Any of the 6m in potential performance bonuses will be absorbed by future rfa money so no overages to carry over next season. So need room in case they are earned.

  57. @ O6 – in that link you posted although they obviously very much like Byram they have Turcotte at #3 and Byram at #4

    2 of these 3 these NHL.com writers also have Turcotte at #3 and Byram this time at #5

    I’m still on the Byram train but increasingly Turcotte is being projected to go the Hawks – I wonder if Byram being the best D man artificially brought up his ranking for a while there

    If he’s a can’t miss #1 D there shouldn’t be any debate about taking him at #3 and if he were you’d expect a consensus from the experts that he’s the 3rd BPA

    There doesn’t seem to be that consensus

    The question should be is Byram a #1 D in the making? (not a top pairing D but a #1 D – like former Duncan Keith, Mark Giordano, Alex Pietrangelo, former Z, Burns, Reilly et. al.) and is Turcotte a #1C in the making? – if the answer to both is yes I think you go with Byram but if the answer is that you feel more certain about Turcotte being a #1C than Byram being a #1 D then draft Turcotte

  58. oops forgot the link to 2 of 3 NHL.com writers

    not a top pairing D but a #1 – former Duncan Keith, Mark Giordano, Alex Pietrangelo, former Z, Burns, Reilly et. al.

  59. Its almost like those places are saying different things to get you to buy there goods. One says when Turcotte is picked then Byram is a lock as next best player. The other has the FWs both ahead of Byram meaning he is not a #1 Defensemen. Interesting they have Podloz and Zegras at 6 and 9 which means they both like Cozens better then these two guys.

    Byram and Turcotte are #1 Defensemen and center then it doesnt matter. We pick who we like more. We pick Defensemen and it blocks COL from having 3 really good young Defensemen and we have five of them. We pick Turcotte and we still have four and they have three by picking Byram. They donot and LA does then that says hes not a #1 Defensemen.

    To me that means we pick Turcotte then we know Byram is not a #1 or Turcotte is a stud. He was hurt part of the yr and what would his numbers have been and where would he be on the list, maybe second. Sounds a lot like BoQ being that high on list and hurt so he fell to us at 8th when he really is the best player after Dahlin.

  60. Wraparound, those are the (draft) questions for the day. If Byram is a #1, then I agree he’s the guy. And should be the guy. Maybe it’s the developmental timeline or d-man risk or draft class bias lifting his stock, but the info about Turcotte seems the more sure bet. If Byram is selected, then it’s a huge signal that Byram is a true #1 and we should be pumped about the possibilities.

  61. Aurora – right on

    It’s looking like Turcotte or Byram and I would be excited by either one

    Both Mark Kelley and Stan have made it clear they drafting the BPA – we’ll just have to trust in them but whatever we’ll get a very good to special player (hoping for the latter of course!)

  62. Wrap, THN put Turcotte #3 because the Blackhawks have drafted high D picks the past two years and are in greater need of a top C. Ryan Kennedy said he could see Byram going #3. I read the NHL writers and they expressed the Hawks’ need for a C. One said the Hawks have great prospects on defense. They also said that Colorado has a hole at #2 C. Other mock drafts have commented on the Hawks’ recent high D picks.

    Teams have to balance drafting for need vs drafting BPA. No doubt the Hawks have way more quality D than C in their pipeline, so it is likely they take Turcotte. But that still leaves them with a hole at #1 D and I think that Byram is the harder position to fill.

  63. Original i see the merits of drafting Byram for sure. My concern is if he doesn’t reach that no.1 dman role and is just another of a group of very good prospects, you don’t have a no.1 dman or depth where its needed more and basically could’ve wasted the opportunity to do so.

  64. Other thing about this is we draft Byram then COL gets Turcotte. If they need a center so badly they might pick a center and pass on Byram and he goes to LA. While we get the better center Turcotte.

  65. Ian, using your logic one can say that drafting a center with the 3rd pick who doesn’t reach #1 is a wasted opportunity when a d-man or maybe another center could have been picked instead.

  66. I’m interested what people have to say on the goalie situation. There are so many names involved…..Crawford Delia, Ward, Forsberg, Lankinen, Nalimov, Gravel, Peeters.

    Is it safe to assume that Ward won’t be back? I’m hearing things about Nalimov coming over this season and I know people were high on him in the past. Lankinen had a great showing at the world championship. Any thoughts on how this all may pan out?

  67. Gander if all healthy Delia because of the contract they signed him too, Ahl depth don’t get 3 yr deals that aren’t an elc, seems to be pegged as backup, Lankinen and Nalimov would be in Rockford. Only thing is Nalimov has balked apparently at going to Ahl and doesn’t appear ready for Nhl yet. So if he refuses Forserg could be the guy, if he doesn’t Forsberg would appear to be odd man out. Lankinen and Nalimov be on Elcs so would be eligible to be sent to Indy but can’t see that happening. Also Tomkins and Marchand under contract to Rockford so Indy likely their spot to start year.

  68. I am stoaked about Lankinen. Delia looked good at first for awhile, then needed more developement. So want to see Lankinen look good at first to and then what ever best for them. They both could be good and thats sweet.

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